The Chhota Udepur district police has detained 17 people in connection with the viral video of a 17-year-old girl being publicly flogged in Bilvant village of the district. The incident was reported on May 27 after the video was brought to the notice of the police. The girl was flogged with sticks on May 21 by her relatives, including her paternal uncle and cousins, for allegedly eloping with a youth from the same village, police said.
On May 28, another video of the girl surfaced where she is purportedly paraded in the village with the youth mounted on her shoulders. Taking suo motu cognizance, the police booked two people who were identified in the second video and detained them. “The second video of the parading of the girl was shot the same day, prior to the flogging incident. Most of the faces are similar to the ones in the first video — those who were named in the FIR. We have identified two more persons and detained them,” the Investigating Officer said. The detained have been taken for Covid testing and will be formally arrested once the results come out.
The youth in the video, who was also booked under charges of abduction as the girl is a minor, was detained by the police on Friday. “The youth had fled the village out of fear. We traced him from a relative’s house. He, too, has been detained and sent for Covid testing as per protocol,” the officer added.
According to the police, the girl had eloped to Madhya Pradesh with the 20-year-old youth around two weeks ago. Her uncle, who has been detained, had brought back the duo on May 21, when she was flogged in public and paraded in the village.
After the video had surfaced on May 27, the girl’s father had lodged a complaint against 15 people under IPC sections 147 (Punishment for rioting), 148 (Rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 325 (Punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (2) (Punishment for criminal intimidation), 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and under relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
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